I had the opportunity to tag along with one of my editors for Creative Week. Creative Week prides itself for being “where advertising, design and digital media collide with the arts.” This includes a lot of my interests so it was a great first time experience. Since I was one of the few students in attendance I feel almost obligated to share some of the things that I learned (and boy, did I learn a lot).
One of the (many) sessions I attended was “Inside the Creative Lab” hosted by Google. Robert Wong, Chief Creative Officer of the Google Creative Lab gave an inspiring presentation that brought some of the people in the audience to tears. Here are some takeaways that apply in both business and life:
1) Don’t be evil. You may recognize this as Google’s informal corporate motto. The company founders wanted this to be a central pillar of their identity and a part of their core values. They wrote: “Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served — as shareholders and in all other ways — by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.” This goes along the lines of what Bill George talks about in his book Authentic Leadership.
2) Obsess the why. If you can, take it apart and understand it so you can make it better. Simon Sinek (one of my favorite Ted talks) also encourages this idea to create sustainable businesses. It plays a role in what motivates us and pushes us to reach our potential, don’t you think? If you know the why, even if you don’t know the how, it will be great, whatever it is.
3) Moonshot thinking. Think exponentially. “Why do you want to climb Mt Everest?… Because it’s there.” When you follow passion, you can do the impossible. Solving requires wonder, imagination and a vision to build seemingly impossible solutions to the worlds biggest problems. Think big and think audaciously. Be propelled by excitement and a hunger for a solution.
4) Users should be placed above all. Add beauty, Add Joy. Add meaning. At the end of the day it is about bringing value to people. Other people not just yourself. Exceed insanely great expectations with empathy of the user. The simpler, the better, too.
5) Get out the way of the product. If it’s good, let it do its thing. Especially in Google’s case, they aim to make demos and documentaries, not ads. If the product is good it’ll sell itself. Kind of how if someone is good at something they’ll show, not tell.
The best example of this is Dear Sophia Lee. Let’s just say, after Dear Sophia Lee, people were sniffling in the audience.
6) Don’t take yourself so freaking seriously. Pretty self explanatory and something I’m personally working on.
7) Give others super powers. Google tries to do it via technology, example: google glass. This can be done through kindness and words everyday (cause we can’t all do it through new innovations).
8) Do good things that matter.
9) Do one thing that scares you everyday. Anything good is hard. Pursuing purpose and meaning is hard but don’t let that scare you.
10) Values and ethos don’t change no matter how much technology changes. The world is becoming increasingly inundated with information but that shouldn’t change what you stand for and who you are.
and a bonus:
11) Storytellers can invent the future.
Robert told a short story: “There’s a 3rd grader drawing a picture. The teacher asks, “What is it?” The kid says, “God.” The teacher says “But no one knows what God looks like.” The student says: “They will when I’m done!”
Interpret that however you’d like but I take it to mean that those brave and imaginative enough to do– whether it be individuals or brands- can and will write/create stories and a future of their own despite doubt and adversity.
Now this all sounds quite idealistic, which I no doubt am, but Google is a data driven tech company with a culture that breeds success. Combine these takeaways and values with some amazing people and you get Google, a company that has changed millions of people’s lives through their products.
I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to work there or at least see what it’s like.
By the way, I had the pleasure of attending an early screening of The Internship and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I highly recommend it! Watch the trailer here and watch the movie when it comes out in theaters June 7.
“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”- Minor Myers
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